As the daughter of the prominent evangelical minister, Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, founder of AnGeL Ministries, is a second-generation lover of Zion. Her father was a forerunner in Christian support of Israel, leading his thousands of followers to support the Jewish state politically at a time when this relationship was just beginning. Recently diagnosed with cancer, Lotz sees her illness as a means to take that relationship with the Jewish State even deeper and internalize it into her personal spiritual service.
Born one week after the State of Israel, she has frequently described herself as being “entwined” with Israel. When she was diagnosed with cancer, Lotz’s prayers for her own health naturally included Israel.
“Could it be that God has given me a message for her that I am living out in my own experience?” she wrote on her website in December while undergoing chemotherapy.
“Just as my cancer is a potentially fatal disease, is Israel also in danger of being attacked in a potentially fatal way? Just as my cancer struck suddenly and unexpectedly through no fault of my own, will Israel also be struck by her enemies suddenly and unexpectedly through no fault of her own? Just as I have had to turn to God to be my defender, refuge and strength throughout this cancer journey, is it time also for Israel to turn to the God of her father, to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? The God of Moses and Joshua and David? Now, before it’s too late.”
“And this is the message God has placed on my heart for you and me… for God’s people. It’s time, once again, to: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” It’s time to pray for Jerusalem and for the whole House of Israel. If you agree, please join me in prayer,” she asked the people in her ministry.
In an interview conducted via email, Lotz responded to questions from Breaking Israel News.
I’m honored to be asked to submit answers to the following questions. Thank you. I was in Israel twice during 2018. The first time was in July when I was invited to address the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. I was deeply moved to be warmly received by MK Robert Ilatov, Rabbi [Yehudah] Glick, Rabbi [Tuly] Weisz, and Rabbi [Yitzchok] Adlerstein. I felt a kindred spirit I had not felt before from such prominent leaders. The second time was in July when I led a tour of 200 people on a thrilling Prayer and Prophecy Tour.
Thinking through the answers has been a personal blessing.
BIN: You see your life as entwined with Israel. For Jews, this is implicitly enacted by living in Israel and keeping the commandments. What does that mean for you and how do you believe other Christians should take this on?
AGL: “As a Bible-believing, evangelical Christian, I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. In the New Testament, Jesus told an interesting parable about a fig tree. He said that when its twigs get tender and it puts forth leaves, we know that summer is near. He went on to say that the last generation of human history would be the generation that sees the fulfillment of this.”
Lotz gave a parable taken from the New Testament about a fig tree that unexpectedly bears fruit after being barren.
“I believe that Israel’s rebirth in 1948 was the budding of the fig tree that supernaturally came to life after almost 2,000 years of dormancy,” Lotz said. “This is where I come in. I was born on May 21, 1948, exactly one week to the day after Israel was declared a nation by the United Nations and formally recognized by the United States. So if the last generation begins in 1948, then it’s my lifetime.”
“As for how other Christians should take this on, I believe that each of us should live our lives as though we are going to be standing face to face with the Messiah at any moment. I believe we should live our lives so that we have no regrets five minutes before He appears.”
BIN: Did you learn to love Israel from your Abba, a highly respected man? If so, how did he teach this to you?
AGL: “I have to smile as I give an emphatic ‘Yes! I did indeed learn this from my heavenly Abba!’ God the Father opens my mind and heart, enlightening me as I read my Bible. But I understand you are speaking of my earthly father, Billy Graham. Up until the day he moved to Heaven, he and I spoke of the living hope we have. In fact, he gave me one of the treasured books from his library. The author is noted simply by three initials, W.E.B. The book was first published in 1898, fifty years before Israel was reborn. And yet the author, simply based on his understanding of Scripture, was firmly convinced that Israel would be reborn. He was convinced that the Jews would return from all over the world and reestablish their ancient homeland as a viable nation. Interestingly, I have been told that Prime Minister Netanyahu has also read this book and quoted from it in one of his own books. W.E.B. was a Christian who was also an early Zionist.”
“While my earthly father did not teach me about my link to Israel, he firmly believed in Israel’s God-given right to exist.”
This belief played a major role in Israeli history. Billy Graham, who passed away almost one year ago, played an instrumental role in persuading then-President Nixon to provide an emergency airlift of essential arms that rescued the Jewish state from the overwhelming Arab onslaught during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
BIN: You believe that Israel is in grave danger. The difficulty is that many have become complacent, relying on appearances, on the seemingly powerful IDF. Many Israelis, especially those who live in Judea and Samaria, feel that American Jews have chosen liberalism over Israel. We feel abandoned in our time of need. As they turn to Christian supporters of Israel for help, they are also finding them to be brothers in spirit. Is this how you see it? If this is true, this may be an unprecedented coming-together. Why and how are Christians awakening to this, and what is it?
AGL: “While I believe there are many Jews in America who support Israel, the impression certainly is that the majority are much more liberal in their perspective. Evangelical Christians, for the most part, support Israel because we read and believe our Bibles. Speaking for myself as representing evangelicals, I believe when God told Abraham that He was giving the land to Abraham and his descendants forever, that He meant “forever.” When God told Abraham to walk over the land that God was giving him, God wasn’t speaking spiritually, He was speaking practically, physically, and literally. I believe that the Jews are God’s uniquely chosen people whom He loves.”
“I also believe, according to the prophets, that Israel will be the epicenter of the world in the last generation. The Prophet Ezekiel describes a valley of dry bones that remarkably seems to be a description of those who survived the Holocaust. Ezekiel indicated the ‘bones’ would return to their ancient land, and remarkably rise up to be a vast army of people. In my lifetime, I have seen the fulfillment of that prophecy.”
“Ezekiel also prophesied a terrible invasion of Israel from the north that has not yet been fulfilled. Some people today believe this prophecy will be fulfilled in a war with Russia, Turkey, Iran, and other nations, when God supernaturally intervenes to save Israel for the purpose of turning her back to faith in Himself.”
“As recorded in the book of Judges, Israel’s history was filled with people who did what was right in their own eyes instead of following the Lord. When they rebelled against God, they were attacked by their enemies, then cried out to God to save them. In answer to their cry, God would send a deliverer—Gideon, Samson, Deborah, etc. Israel today has been in their land for seventy years, but they as a nation have not turned to the living God of their fathers. I believe God may allow Israel to be attacked by her enemies, so that she will cry out to God, and He will send a deliverer. My thought is that this time the deliverer will be the Messiah.”
“There are an increasing number of evangelical Christians who are tracking world events in the light of Biblical prophecy. Thousands of us believe that time is very short—that human history is running out—that the Messiah is soon to come.”
“I believe that the Spirit of God is stirring in the hearts of His people, opening our eyes and hearts, giving us an increasing awareness of the times in which we are living. For myself, I have felt very strongly that it’s a time for evangelical Christians to pray for the peace of Jerusalem as we never have before. In fact, during the weeks before Christmas, when I was wrestling with cancer treatments as well as preparing to celebrate, I felt an overwhelming burden to not only pray for Israel, but to get as many other people to pray for her as I could. God seemed to impress on me that just as I am 70 years old, so is the modern state of Israel. Just as I had been surprisingly attacked by cancer, Israel was in great danger of a surprise attack from her enemies.”
“As I was posting the call to prayer, a friend living in Jerusalem sent me a picture of an almond branch that was blooming in December in Israel. I immediately thought of Jeremiah 1:1-14 when the budding almond branch preceded God announcing judgment that would come on Israel from the north. The day after I posted the call to prayer, I was given information about the tunnels that Hezbollah had built under the northern border with Lebanon. I knew God was confirming my burden to pray—a burden that resulted in thousands of people joining me in praying for Israel’s peace and protection.”
We at BIN recognize and appreciate Mrs. Lotz’s heartfelt attachment to Israel. We would like to invite the public in joining us in praying for her well-being. As is the custom in Israel, we pray for mercy in the name of the mother. Please pray that Anne, the daughter of Ruth Bell, be blessed with a swift and complete recovery.
DISCLAIMER: Breaking Israel News advocates a relationship between pro-Israel Christians and Jews. Such a relationship requires that each side present their belief-based motivations. We insist that this be carried out in compliance with the Jewish precept of “איש איש באמונתו יחיה” (Each man shall live in his belief) based on the verse from Habakkuk printed under the article’s headline. As Orthodox Jews, we do not advocate proselytizing to non-Jews nor do we support Christian proselytizing to Jews. The status of Christianity within Halacha is complex and the proper process of Jewish law requires it to be treated on a case-by-case basis.